Ghanaian Government has condemned the closure of businesses owned by Nigerians in Kumasi by the former Gold Coast’s Union of Traders Association (GUTA).

Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Trade, Carlos Ahenkorah, explained that the government frowns at such move by the union as the Nigerian economy is too big for Ghana to fight over border closure. According to him, Ghanaians should rather opt for dialogue which could yield positive results.

[READ MORE: Border closure is a threat to forthcoming Lagos Trade Fair – LCCI]

Nairametrics reported earlier today that Ghana’s traders’ association closed some shops owned by Nigerians. Although GUTA said its action was in line with Ghana’s constitution which disallows foreigners from operating certain businesses, there were claims that the action was provoked by Nigeria’s decision to shut its land borders.

The Nigerian government has been criticised by some Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike for its decision to shut the borders as it has led to loss of revenue for businesses in Nigeria and neighbouring countries. The Ghanaian government and Vietnam government have visited Nigeria to resolve what is gradually becoming a trade stand-off between Nigeria and other African countries.

Why Ghana’s Ahenkorah is worried

According to a report, Ahenkorah said Nigeria’s economy is six times bigger than Ghana’s, so there’s need for Ghana to exercise caution while dealing with Nigerian government, as any hasty action backfire.

Ghanaian government clashes with Ghana’s traders’ union over attack on Nigerian businesses 
Carlos Ahenkorah

He warned that a trade clash with Nigeria could affect Ghana more, adding that Ghana isn’t an island, so there’s need for better trade relationship with foreign countries.

“Their economy is six times ours, why go fighting them? When you need to appeal for their support. I want GUTA to understand that whether they like it or not, we need other economies to support what we do here. I’m pleading with GUTA, just take your time and let’s find a way to resolve the issue. They don’t need to go trading blows. If you trade blows, you only get the bigger guys to outsmart you.”

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GUTA disappointed at Ahenkorah’s comment

GUTA’s Financial Secretary in the Ashanti Region, Maxwell Bamfoh, said he was disappointed by Ahenkorah’s statements.

Bamfoh said the traders’ association would continue to shut down Nigerian businesses in Ghana since the Ghanaian government had failed to take action against Nigerians for flouting Ghana’s law. He said the traders would continue to use the laws against Nigerians for disobeying Ghana’s constitution.

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[READ ALSO: Border closure: Emefiele says Benin, others must engage Nigeria before borders are reopened]

Nigerians can sue us if they want

Despite the condemnation that trailed GUTA’s action against Nigerians in Ghana, the Ashanti Regional Secretary of GUTA, Daniel Acheampong, has challenged Nigerians whose shops were shut, to sue the association.

Acheampong said the criticism against their action was baseless as Nigerians flouted the law of the country. He said the association could as well flout the rules since their means of channelling their grievances was questioned.

“What we are saying is that if they in the first place have flouted the laws, what is the beef if you also flout the laws? 

“They should take us to court if they think what we are doing is not right. What they are doing is offending the law. When you look on and allow someone to come into your country without the recourse of obeying the laws of the land, do you sit down for the person to go on and break your laws?” Acheampong was quoted in another report.

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